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James R. Tuck’s Blood and Bullets is the first Deacon Chalk Occult Bounty-Hunter novel. I will start by saying I am a fan of paranormal romance, but now and then I like to change it up some.  If you are looking for sparkly, lovesick vampires, walk away now.  If you are searching for something different, this may very well be your something!

The book’s main character is Deacon Chalk, and he is the quintessential bad ass, and monster hunter.  He is a bit complex; on one hand he is hard and blunt and because of this, sometimes he can come off as a bit of a jerk.  On the other hand, he is loyal and caring, especially when it comes to those in his inner circle.

I really liked the storyline and I was engrossed right away, reading the entire book in one sitting.  This book is action-packed from start to finish.  In my opinion the book is a cross between paranormal and crime novel.  In some ways, it brings to mind the early Anita Blake books, a little sexual tension and a whole lot of killing!

All of the book’s characters are well developed, and I will note that there is a lot more to it than your average vampire and slayer.  Tuck is really descriptive in his writing and you can tell a lot of thought went into this book.  I also enjoyed his writing style.  I am definitely on board for more Deacon Chalk novels!

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From Amazon.com

Since hunting down the monster who took the lives of his wife and children five years ago, occult bounty-hunter Deacon Chalk has lived by only one rule.He does not work for the monsters. He kills them.So why would a vampire try to hire him as protection against another monster hunter? After enforcing his only rule Deacon goes to meet the target, a vampire slayer named Nyteblade. Professional courtesy demands he tell this Nyteblade the vampires are hiring people to kill him. Deacon finds the vampire slayer waiting in an alley. Waiting to stake him.He discovers that Nyteblade is a bumbling, fumbling, wanna-be instead of a badass vampire hunter. Someone who needs saving from monsters instead of the other way around. This is proven when a horde of vampires descend and he has to escape while trying to keep Nyteblade alive.Someone has set Deacon up. Someone wants him dead. Someone should have sent more vampires.Bound and determined, Deacon will find out who tried to kill him no matter how many bloodsuckers, were-spiders, cursed immortals, undead strippers, or insanely powerful hell-bitches he has to wade through.It’s going to be a long night.

Claimed By Shadow by Karen ChanceKaren Chance ups the ante for Cassandra Palmer in Claimed By Shadow, as the young heroine must embrace her destiny even though it’s the last thing she wants to do.

Action picks up in Claimed By Shadow not long after events in Touch The Dark.

Cassie is on the run from everyone now, having abandoned her vampire “protectors,” unsure of who to trust. She learns, while on the lam, that her vampire master has put a “geis,” a magical territorial claim that warns would-be lovers away, on her. Meanwhile, her powers continue to grow, enabling her to better control her shifts through time. Many plots are afoot, however, and it’s up to Cassie, chosen to be the world’s most powerful clairvoyant and guardian of time, to sort everything out and to make sure that things turn out for good. It’s not a charge she wants, but it is one she has to face, along with the implications of the geis, her vampire master, and the friend who betrayed her.

The Cassandra Palmer series reminds me of Keri Arthur’s Riley Jenson Guardian series — they are urban fantasies where romance, love and sex are found, but getting a couple with chemistry together isn’t the central goal. Rather, those elements play a part in a bigger story, and often times help define the character on a personal, intimate level.

This is a well-written series with a broad and intriguing mythology, melding varies figures and stories of lore from around the globe, and I am interested to see where Ms. Chance takes Cassie next in Embrace the Night (4/2008).

P.S. If you don’t find this series (or Keri Arthur’s) in your local bookstore’s romance section, make your way over to the fantasy/sci-fi shelves. You just might find them there!

Have you read Claimed by Shadow? If so, please feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you think.

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